I grew up in a fairly vanilla suburb in Melbourne. Not a lot happened on the streets. There just wasn’t a scene unless you count the gangs of kids on their BMX’s. I lived with my parents in the home I had lived all my life until around my 21st Birthday. They are still there and now my own kids get to hang out at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Have sleep overs in the room I grew up in. The basics like school, work and friends were all very close. Then, with my high school certificate and a year in art school behind me, I landed a place at an inner city university to study Industrial Design. I had always been arty and creative so this seemed like a good fit. Turned out it wasn’t but that is not the point to this story. The point is that I moved to the suburb of Prahran to complete my studies.
At the time it was the most exciting place on the planet for a boy who grew up in suburbia. So much history, energy, diversity and opportunity. It felt like Prahran never slept and when viewed from a distance Chapel Street always had a glow above it at night. Nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping, markets, festivals, all night super markets, galleries, art stores, the wealthy and the poor. All mashed together. Prahran and Chapel Street is always evolving with the prosperity swinging from the Windsor end all the way to Toorak over the course of years and then back again.
When I moved out of home I moved into a share house in Prahran with my sister. At the time she worked in Prahran and I studied in Prahran. Eventually I moved into a share place of my own and also found a job close to home to subsidise my student lifestyle. This was such an incredible and equally frightening stage of my life. So uncertain about my education, my career, how to share a house with strangers and everything that goes with that. But I adapted and grew.
The most fortunate of outcomes of this move was that I met my beautiful Isobel in Prahran – through a friend. She also attended the university but in a very different field of learning. We would run into each other at parties and had a lot of mutual friends. We began as friends and the more time we spent together saw us fall in love and begin a whole new journey together. Love, home, children and then of course the unimaginable loss of my soul mate. Not a lifetime. Not even close. But I loved her for the lifetime she did have. And she me.
Some 22 years later and I still live in this area. Our children were born and raised here. Attended kindergarten and school in the neighbouring suburb. Isobel and I dreamed of owning a home here and we did and still do. Our children and countless foster children have called Prahran and the surrounds home. And I imagine that we will continue to do so for a very long time to come. This is the home of our family. And one that has allowed our children to be so open to and exposed to all the diversity on offer. We established the roots of our little family in a place where the seeds were first discovered. Where I first met my love. Home.
And naturally, I love to photograph my home town. There is so much life and activity and so very many stories unfolding in Prahran. There is always something going on. The market is a personal favourite – I was just there today strolling through taking some shots and some free samples of amazing food. But Chapel Street is an endless source of energy and opportunity. Gardens provide respite from the often frantic noise. The traffic I could do without but this in itself only inspires me to get out and walk – everything is within walking distance in Prahran. Be sure to pay a visit. Happy shooting.